Council bosses have been urged to speed up plans for a new cemetery in Fraserburgh after it emerged that burial charges in the north-east could rise by a third.
Mary Melville, vice chairwoman of the town’s community council, said locals had been waiting for years for a replacement to Kirkton Cemetery to be built – and the rising costs would pile additional pressures on bereaved families.
A new site has been proposed for west of Kirkton, as part of a 57-hectare housing and business development.
Mrs Melville said it was time for Aberdeenshire Council to turn the plans into action.
She said: “Kirkton is really filling up and we don’t know where our new cemetery is going to be.
“All these proposals are just that. There’s nothing written in black and white. Something needs to be decided pretty soon – not pencilled in.”
She added that the increased burial charges – expected to be between 30-35% – would give families even more cause for worry.
“There are a lot of people who just could not afford that,” she said.
“It’s going to make people quite anxious about their parents or relatives dying because how are they going to afford the price of the burial?”
Last night the authority’s head of roads and landscape services, Philip McKay, insisted the increase would reflect the cost of the council-provided service.
And he reassured locals that the current cemetery has a working capacity of a further 13 years.
“A site, identified in the 2012 Local Development Plan for the creation of a new cemetery, will be developed when required,” Mr McKay said.
“We are currently one of the lowest charging councils in Scotland and increased charges will mean they better reflect the cost of the services provided.”
Aberdeenshire Council currently charges £526 to bury a person over the age of 16 on a weekday. This increases to £789 on Saturdays.
The new charges will take effect from April 1.